ChaiSpotlight: Nechama Markovic

Hi! I’m Nechama and I am one of the Volunteer and Event Coordinators at the Toronto office.

A question I often hear from well meaning members of the community, usually goes something like this. “I know Chai Lifeline is an amazing organization, but what do you guys ACTUALLY do?”. So, I’ve decided to dedicate my blog space to ensuring everyone reading this gains a clear picture of what occurs in Chai Lifeline, every single day.

When a new family joins Chai Lifeline, they are immediately connected with a case manager, who acts as their point of contact for anything they might need. A new family can be someone who has a child or spouse that is diagnosed with a life-long or life threatening illness. Chai Lifeline is known for helping children with cancer, but the reality is we help clients with many different diagnoses such as hemophilia, juvenile arthritis, Chron’s/colitis, and other chronic diseases.
The case manager’s primary focus is to provide advice and support to the family, as well as to guide them towards specific Chai Lifeline services that can be most beneficial to their family during this time.

Once a specific request is asked, the case manager will bring it to the Volunteer Department, where we find the appropriate volunteer to get the job done. Our most well known services are the Big Brother/Big Sister program, weekly dinner deliveries, hospital rides, hospital visits (including overnight shifts), medication deliveries, home respite shifts, grocery shopping, tutoring, and more. But, Chai lifeline families truly feel that we are here to help in any way we can, even if the support they need doesn’t fall into a specific category. Our volunteers have helped families in truly unique ways, such as building sukkas, accompanying their Little Siblings on a Disney cruise, and cleaning cars before Passover.
There is a joint understanding amongst our volunteers that every family has different needs, and we will do whatever we can to help.

What sets Chai Lifeline apart from other pediatric organizations, is that we recognize how illness affects not just the client, but every member of the family. With this in mind, we offer support to siblings and parents of sick kids. The nature of our services is so varied, that there is opportunity for people of all ages to volunteer, no matter their schedule. Each volunteer brings a unique perspective on how to best help our families, and each come together to do their part towards a common goal.

We are able to do what we do, only through the incredible generosity of time and spirit of over 700+ volunteers. Each of you create the shift from worry and stress, to relief and comfort, for over 400 families in our community. We consider it a privilege to work together with you to help those who need it most, and without you, there could be no Chai Lifeline.

 

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